How To Avoid Comparison In The Age Of Instagram
Ever fall victim to the "grass is always greener" shtick? Me too. In a world of highly curated social media posts, airbrushed magazine covers, and tabloid gossip, it's easy to feel like you're constantly missing something.
As co-founders of a yoga-inspired coaching movement, my partner Mary Beth and I have gone down the comparison rabbit hole enough times to have some insight into how we pull ourselves (and each other!) out of it. Do we still find ourselves staring cross-eyed at Instagram photos of the mom who does "it all" or the celebrity yoga teacher who travels the world and still manages to seem balanced and refreshed? Of course! We're human and everything is a practice.
These tricks have helped stop the comparison game in its tracks. Try a few out the next time you find yourself getting discouraged by your feed:
1. Know your core values.
Know what is most important to you and create thoughts, action, and goals from this rooted truth. Creating clarity in what you actually want to be doing (in this moment, in five years, in this lifetime) will alleviate the mental drama that occurs when we see what the proverbial Joneses are doing and asking how to keep up. Know what makes you unique and what makes your heart beat. Then chase that.
2. Get grateful.
When we operate from scarcity—this conversation in our heads about what "they" have and what we don't have—it takes up space and time in our brain that we could be using and spending on way better ideas. Like how grateful we are for the job we have, the food on our plate, the love of friends and family, even the iPhone we're using to scroll. Comparison takes us out of the present moment and into some gnarly storytelling. But from this grateful space, we can get present once again.
3. Love the world up.
Send out compassion on a local level or go big and get global with it. Take a moment to send love and compassion to those suffering, to those healing, to those who might have it not as good as you. While this might be the reverse psychology game of comparison, instead of coming from a place of judgment, you can come from a place of love and kindness.
4. Try out JOMO.
Explore the idea of JOMO—the joy of missing out. When you take a break from real life to hit that Instagram scroll and see that yoga teacher and all your friends sipping coconuts in Bali, you have one of two options. You can freak out with FOMO, a fear of missing out, and feel your body and face contort into a full-frown revolution. Or you can be happy for our friends and the choices they made to get there. Send them a note that you cannot wait to hear about their adventure. And try to mean it.
5. Get inspired.
Take your comparison and flip it on its head to inspiration. When you feel yourself in the depths of comparison, can you take a moment to see if the feeling is actually rooted in jealousy? Can you ask yourself what it would take for you to get there and start to create goals in the future so that you can be in that picture in Bali?